Baker, Josephine, 1906-1975

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Josephine Baker was a dancer, singer, and civil rights activist. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Eddie Carson, a musician, and Carrie Macdonald. Her parents parted when Josephine was still an infant, and her mother married Arthur Martin, which has led to some confusion about her maiden name. Very llittle is known about her childhood, except that she was a witness to the East St. Louis riot in 1917. This event was often a feature of her talks in the 1950s and 1960s about racism and the fight for equality., which fostered the oft-repeated assertion that the family was resident in East St. Louis. Before the age of eighteen Josephine had been married twice, first to Willie Well and then to William Baker, to whom she was married in Camden, New Jersey, in September 1921. Josephine Baker - American National Biography Online http://www.anb.org (Retrieved August 17, 2009)

From the description of Josephine Baker photographs, ca. 1925-1975. (University of Georgia). WorldCat record id: 430822886

Josephine Baker (1906-1975), African American performer, dancer, and silent film star. Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, she performed in Paris, New York, Africa, and the Middle East, and was a crusader for racial equality.

From the description of Josephine Baker collection. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79463198

Josephine Baker (1906-1975), dancer, singer, and humanitarian was born in the United States, but achieved fame as a performer in France before dedicating her life to human rights causes.

From the description of Henry Hurford Janes-Josephine Baker collection, 1926-1986. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702132889

Born in 1906 in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine Baker achieved fame in Paris in the 1920s. In the 1950s, she sought to promote racial equality by adopting twelve children of various races and nationalities to create what she called a "rainbow family." Miki Sawada was the founder and director of the Elizabeth Sanders Home in Tokyo for ostracized mixed-race children fathered by U.S. servicemen with Japanese women. She and Baker had become friends in the 1930s in Paris, where her husband, Renzo Sawada, was stationed as a diplomat.

From the description of Josephine Baker collection, 1933-1975. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 244205486

Actress, dancer and entertainer.

From the description of Typewritten letter signed : Les Milandes, to Monsieur Tino Davini, 1965 Feb. 24. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270904403

Josephine Baker was an American singer, dancer, and actress, who became a citizen of France in 1937.

From the guide to the Josephine Baker papers, 1967-1975., (Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Henry Hurford Janes (known as Harry) was born in 1909 in Chelsea, England. Initially trained to be a private secretary, his penchant for writing was encouraged by the publication of his first article at the age of 20 which launched his career as a writer. In 1939, Janes joined the British Expeditionary Force as a private and was eventually promoted to be the personal assistant to the director of National Service Entertainment, Basil Dean. ENSA, the Entertainments National Service Association, which provided entertainment for British troops, similar to the American USO, took Janes to a number of battlefield locations.

He met Josephine Baker in 1943 in Algiers where, despite rumors about her demise, she was performing for Allied soldiers in Northern Africa. Janes began a long-lasting acquaintance with Miss Baker and began to negotiate for her to come to England for a performance for British troops. After two years of planning, the Gala Variety Concert featuring Baker and Noel Coward took place May 14, 1945 at the Cambridge Theatre in London.

After World War II, Janes took a position as secretary to a Member of Parliament, but soon left to pursue a full-time career as a freelance writer. He produced articles (for such publications as the Evening News ) and short stories as well as plays. His Lady Must Sell debuted in 1948, followed by Under the Skin in 1953 and various scripts for BBC and ITV. He married his wife, Peggy, in 1954.

During the following decades, he specialized in commissioned industrial biographies and booklets on historical events. His friendship with Josephine Baker resumed during the late 1960s when Miss Baker began to tour again after a period of semi-retirement. Baker christened Janes and his wife the English "godparents" of her 12 adopted children. The Janeses quickly began to fulfill these roles by hosting many of Baker's children during summer vacations in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The youngest child, Stellina, was in the care of Harry and Peggy Janes, attending a convent school, when Baker died in April, 1975. Harry Janes initially questioned who should have custody over the young girl he and his wife had grown fond of, but soon deferred to Stellina's adoptive father, Jo Bouillon.

In the early 1970s, Harry Janes had started to gather notes about Joephine Baker's life and his interactions with her in preparation for a biography. He wrote several short biographical sketches, but a complete book was never published.

Josephine Baker was born on June 6, 1906 in East St. Louis, Missouri. Around the age of 13, she began dancing as a chorus girl in an all-black revue that toured the United States. At 16, she landed a prominent role in Shuffle Along, the first black musical to play on Broadway. Her cross-eyed, comic performances along with her naturally graceful dancing caught the eye of a scout who was organizing a black revue to open in Paris.

Even before La Revue Nègre opened at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Parisians were entranced by the image of Josephine Baker on posters that advertised the show. Her "Dance of the Savages," a feral duet she performed wearing only a handful of pink feathers, caused an uproar that signaled the ascension of a new cabaret star in Paris. Baker was swept up in the adoration of the Lost Generation that inhabited the city. She posed for Picasso, was photographed by Man Ray, and was sculpted by Alexander Calder. She soon established residence in Paris and in 1926 starred in the Folies-Bergère, performing her famous banana dance. As her fame grew, Baker branched out into a wider realm of performance. She learned to sing and made the film La Sirène des Tropiques in 1927. More successful films, Zou-Zou and Princess Tam-Tam, followed in the 1930s.

The accounts of Baker's marriages before she achieved stardom are sketchy, at best. Her liaisons in Paris are more accurately chronicled. She was engaged to Pepito Abitano during the late 1920s and early 1930s when she toured Europe and eventually the United States. She was performing in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 when Abitano died. After her return to Paris, she married sugar broker Jean Lion. The marriage soon ended in divorce and Baker began to devote her energies to the war effort. In the 1940s, besides entertaining French troops, Baker did secret intelligence work for France, earning the rank of lieutenant in the Women's Auxiliary of the Free French Air Force.

Baker returned to the stage at the end of the war, touring with orchestra leader Jo Bouillon, who would become her husband in 1947. During this period of her life, Baker's stage career would become subordinate to her most intimate of projects, her family. Unable to bear children, she adopted a total of 12 children over a period of 12 years. This "Rainbow Tribe," as she called them, came from 9 different countries, most from impoverished backgrounds. The family lived at "Les Milandes," a country estate in the Dordogne in southern France that Josephine transformed into a center for tourism, complete with a cabaret and "Le Jorama," a museum of Josephine Baker memorabilia.

After her separation from Jo Bouillon in 1960, Baker's dream of a tranquil retirement began to fall apart. She grew increasingly in debt, eventually losing her beloved Milandes estate to creditors in 1967. She was rescued by her friend Princess Grace of Monaco, who offered a government property in nearby Roquebrune-Cap-Martin for Baker to raise her children. However, Baker needed to satisfy other debts, which led her back to the stage. The early 1970s saw a renewed interest in her performance and a personal revitalization for Baker. Her last great triumph was in early April 1975 when she appeared at the Bobino Theater in a 50-year retrospective of her career. It was here, in Paris, that she died on April 12, 1975, having suffered a cerebral hemorrhage after falling asleep in her bedroom, newspapers praising her comeback scattered around her.

From the guide to the Henry Hurford Janes-Josephine Baker collection, 1926-1986, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Epithet: US music-hall artist

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001137.0x00005a

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Linda Lee Thomas Porter scrapbooks, 1913-1939. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Ollie Stewart Papers, 1953-1977 Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University
referencedIn Gumby, L. S. Alexander, 1885-1961,. Alexander Gumby collection of Negroiana, [ca. 1800]-1981. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Scotto, Vincent, 1876-1952. La Petite tonkinoise [Multimédia multisupport]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Van Vechten, Carl, 1880-1964. Carl Van Vechten collection, ca. 1920-ca. 1955; (bulk 1940-1949). Moorland-Spingarn Resource Center
referencedIn Toscanini, Walter, 1898-1971,. The Walter Toscanini Collection of research materials in dance: B. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Robert Baral papers, 1876-1980 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn George Brinton Beal papers, circus collection, and other theatrical collections, 1862-1969. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Lerner, Eugene, collector. The Josephine Baker collection, 1926-2001 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
creatorOf Baker, Joséphine, 1906-1975. Dis-moi Joséphine [Multimédia multisupport]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Enrique Riverón papers, 1918-1990s Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
creatorOf Baker, Joséphine, 1906-1975. La petite tonkinoise [Multimédia multisupport]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Sherman Krellberg Papers, 1919-1989, (bulk 1931-1970) Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
referencedIn Josephine Baker collection, [ca. 1935-ongoing]. Museum of Performance & Design
referencedIn Sigel, Madeleine Bartfeld, b. 1924. Madeleine Bartfeld Sigel collection of autographs and performing arts memorabilia, 1899-2003 (1930-2001). University of Maryland Libraries, UMD Libraries
creatorOf Baker, Joséphine, 1906-1975. J'ai deux amours [Multimédia multisupport] / Joséphine Baker, chant... [et al.]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Johnson, Helen A. Helen Armstead-Johnson miscellaneous theater collections, 1831-1993. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Balanchine, George, 1904-1983. [Programs] New York Public Libraries for the Performing Arts, Dance Collection
referencedIn Winchell, Walter, 1897-1972. Walter Winchell papers, 1920-1967. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Gaylor, Wood, 1883-1957. Wood and Adelaide Lawson Gaylor papers, 1866- [ca. 1986]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn She's Nobody's Baby collection, 1980-1987 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Du Bois, Shirley Graham, 1896-1977. Papers, 1865-1998 (inclusive), 1905-1975 (bulk). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Rodell, Fred, 1907-1980. Fred Rodell papers, 1940-1980. Haverford College Library
creatorOf Baker, Josephine, 1906-1975. Josephine Baker papers, ca. 1930-1971. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Gumby, L. S. Alexander, 1885-1961,. Collection of Negroiana, [ca. 1800]-1981, [microform]. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Nancy Adam Bequest of Theatrical Notebooks and Scrapbooks, 1867 - 1950s V & A Department of Theatre and Performance
referencedIn Theatre Arts Monthly, collection of portraits, ca., ca., 1924-1939 (bulk), 1916-1964 (inclusive). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Walter Winchell papers, 1920-1967 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Van Parys, Georges, 1902-1971. C'est lui [Multimédia multisupport]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Baker, Joséphine, 1906-1975. J'ai deux amours [Multimédia multisupport] / Joséphine Baker, chant... [et al.]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Baral, Robert. Robert Baral papers, 1876-1980. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Langston Hughes Collection, 1956-1960 University of Virginia. Library. Special Collections Dept.
referencedIn Charles Henry Alston Papers, 1930s-1990s (bulk 1930s-1970s) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
creatorOf Baker, Joséphine, 1906-1975. Dis-moi Joséphine [Multimédia multisupport]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Baker, Joséphine, 1906-1975. J'ai deux amours. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Baker, Josephine, 1906-1975. Josephine Baker photographs, ca. 1925-1975. University of Georgia, University of Georgia, Main Library
creatorOf Baker, Joséphine, 1906-1975. Voulez-vous de la canne à sucre ? Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Paul Robeson collection, 1925-1956, 1943-1956 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
referencedIn American Vaudeville Museum collection, 1845-2007, (bulk 1910-1940) University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections
creatorOf Van Parys, Georges, 1902-1971. C'est lui [Multimédia multisupport]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Baker, Joséphine, 1906-1975. Voulez-vous de la canne à sucre ? [Multimédia multisupport]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967. Letters to Mrs. Ina Steele [manuscript], 1956-1960. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Payne, Aaron H., 1901-1994. Aaron H. Payne papers, 1897-1986. University of Illinois at Chicago Library, UIC
creatorOf Vol. V. Dec. 1943-March 1950.ff. 1-229. Papers and correspondents include:American Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ AssociationAmerican tour, May 1945Canadian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association Medal of HonourCitation of Purple HeartFellowship Am... British Library
creatorOf Baker, Josephine, 1906-1975. Henry Hurford Janes-Josephine Baker collection, 1926-1986. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Josephine Baker original watercolor, 1929. University of Georgia, University of Georgia, Main Library
referencedIn Hellman, Florence Marx. Theatrical diaries kept by Florence Marx Hellman, 1903-1942. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Baker, Josephine : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Fonds Louis Jouvet Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des arts du spectacle
referencedIn Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967. Papers of Langston Hughes [manuscript], 1925-1982. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Nicolas Slonimsky Collection, 1873-1997, (bulk 1920-1990) Music Division Library of Congress
referencedIn Madeleine Bartfeld Sigel Collection of Autographs and Performing Arts Memorabilia, 1899-2003, 1930-2001 Special Collections in Performing Arts
referencedIn Ward Morehouse papers, 1877-1966, 1924-1966 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Baker, Joséphine, 1906-1975. On connait la chanson [Multimédia multisupport] / Joséphine Baker, Gaston Ouvrard, Jacques Dutronc... [et al.], chant. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Baker, Josephine, 1906-1975. Josephine Baker collection, 1933-1975. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Stewart, Ollie Anderson, 1906-1977. Ollie Anderson Stewart collection, 1942-1976. Moorland-Spingarn Resource Center
referencedIn Helen Armstead-Johnson miscellaneous theater collections, 1831-1993 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
creatorOf Scotto, Vincent, 1876-1952. J'ai deux amours [Multimédia multisupport]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Riverón, Enrique. Enrique Riverón papers, 1918-1990s. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Henry Hurford Janes-Josephine Baker collection, 1926-1986 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Baker, Josephine, 1906-1975. Programs, ephemera and obituary of Josephine Baker, 1964-1991. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Ken Harper papers, 1972-1988 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Baker, Josephine, 1906-1975. Typewritten letter signed : Les Milandes, to Monsieur Tino Davini, 1965 Feb. 24. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn LETTERS, ETC., OF PRINCE DMITRY PETROVICH SVYATOPOLK-MIRSKY, lecturer at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies 1922-1932, to Miss Dorothy Galton, secretary to Sir Bernard Pares, Director of the School; 1929-1937. Mirsky was arrested in 193..., 1929-1937 British Library
creatorOf Baker, Joséphine, 1906-1975. La petite tonkinoise. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Josephine Baker papers, 1967-1975. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Baker, Josephine, 1906-1975. Josephine Baker collection. Emory University Library, Special Collect Department
creatorOf Baker, Josephine, 1906-1975. Correspondence with Marian Anderson, 1949-1976. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Krellberg, Sherman, 1892-1979. Papers of Sherman Krellberg, 1919-1989 (bulk 1931-1970). Library of Congress
referencedIn Papers, (inclusive), (bulk), 1865-1998, 1905-1975 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Baker, Joséphine, 1906-1975. On connait la chanson [Multimédia multisupport] / Joséphine Baker, Gaston Ouvrard, Jacques Dutronc... [et al.], chant. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn George Balanchine archive, 1924-1989 (inclusive), 1961-1983 (bulk). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Alexander Gumby Collection of Negroiana, [ca. 1800]-1981 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Records of the U.S. Information Agency. 1900 - 2003. Correspondence Files with Latin American United States Information Service Posts
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Abatino, Pepito. person
associatedWith Adam, Nancy person
associatedWith Alston, Charles Henry, 1907-1977 person
associatedWith American Museum of Vaudeville corporateBody
childOf Baker, Jean-Claude. person
associatedWith Balanchine, George. person
associatedWith Baral, Robert person
associatedWith Baral, Robert. person
associatedWith Beal, George Brinton. person
spouseOf Bouillon, Jo, 1908- person
associatedWith Bouillon, Stellina. person
associatedWith Bouillon, Stellina. person
spouseOf Brady, Robert person
associatedWith Cocteau, Jean, 1899-1963. person
associatedWith Cullen, Frank, 1936- person
associatedWith Davini, Tino, person
associatedWith Dean, Basil. person
associatedWith Dean, Basil. person
associatedWith Du Bois, Shirley Graham, 1896-1977. person
associatedWith Entertainments National Service Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Gaulle, Charles de, 1890-1970 person
associatedWith Gaylor, Wood, 1883-1957. person
associatedWith Geoffrey Holder person
associatedWith Grace, Princess of Monaco, 1929-1982 person
associatedWith Gumby, L. S. Alexander, 1885-1961, person
associatedWith Hank Kaufman person
associatedWith Harper, Ken, d. 1988 person
associatedWith Harper, Ken, d. 1988 person
associatedWith Hellman, Florence Marx. person
associatedWith Hemingway, Ernest, 1899-1961 person
associatedWith Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967. person
associatedWith Jane Russell person
associatedWith Janes, Hurford. person
associatedWith Janes, Hurford, collector. person
associatedWith Janes, Hurford, collector. person
associatedWith Janes, Peggy. person
associatedWith Janes, Peggy. person
associatedWith Johnson, Helen A. person
associatedWith John Vinocur person
correspondedWith Jouvet, Louis (1887-1951) person
associatedWith Krellberg, Sherman, 1892-1979. person
associatedWith Lee, Gypsy Rose, 1914-1970 person
associatedWith Lerner, Eugene, collector. person
associatedWith Les amis des milandes. corporateBody
associatedWith Leyson-Cooney, Helen. person
associatedWith Leyson-Cooney, Helen. person
participantIn March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (1963 : Washington, D.C.) corporateBody
associatedWith Maria Beatrice, Princess of Savoy person
associatedWith McEnery, Reginald. person
associatedWith McEnery, Reginald. person
associatedWith McNeilly, Donald, 1945- person
associatedWith Morehouse, Ward, 1898-1966 person
associatedWith Morehouse, Ward, 1898-1966 person
associatedWith National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. corporateBody
associatedWith O'Connor, Kaori. person
associatedWith Payne, Aaron H., 1901-1994. person
associatedWith Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973 person
associatedWith Porter, Linda Lee Thomas, compiler. person
associatedWith Riverón, Enrique. person
associatedWith Riverón, Enrique person
associatedWith Robert Brady. person
associatedWith Robert Pitts person
associatedWith Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976 person
associatedWith Sawada, Miki, 1901-1980. person
associatedWith SHIRLEY GRAHAM DU BOIS, 1896-1977 person
associatedWith Sigel, Madeleine Bartfeld, b. 1924. person
associatedWith Simenon, Georges, 1903-1989 person
associatedWith Slonimsky, Nicolas, 1894-1995 person
associatedWith Sorenson, Lars Harold. person
associatedWith Sorenson, Lars Harold. person
associatedWith Stewart, Ollie Anderson, 1906-1977. person
associatedWith Toscanini, Walter, 1898-1971, person
associatedWith Van Vechten, Carl, 1880-1964. person
associatedWith Vincent, Adza. person
associatedWith Vincent, Adza. person
correspondedWith Wallace, Margarette. person
associatedWith Wallace, Margarette. person
associatedWith Wallace, Margarette. person
associatedWith Winchell, Walter, 1897-1972. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Frances 05 AU
Paris A8 FR
Saint Louis MI US
United States 00 US
Subject
Singers--France--Biography
Singers--Biography
African American entertainers--France--Biography
African American singers--Photographs
Entertainers
Orchestra--Photographs
Entertainers--France--Biography
Singers
Authors, English--20th century--Correspondence
African American entertainers
African American entertainers--Photographs
Dancers--Biography
African American women entertainers
Harlem Renaissance
Dancers
Dancers--Photographs
Intercountry adoption
Music-halls (Variety-theaters, cabarets, etc.)--History--20th century
Adopted children--Family relationships
African American dancers--Photographs
Dancers--France--Biography
Entertainer--Biography
African American entertainers--Biography
Occupation
Scrapbooks
Performer
Entertainers
Authors
Actresses
Singers
Actors
Dancers
Function

Person

Birth 1906-06-03

Death 1975-04-12

French

English

Information

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